- This is a sacred gift from God. It was given to Adam and Eve. Human sexuality is that which makes us male or female. It is our biological or physiological differences associated with the state of being male or female. It is part of our biological make up.
- Males and female have different body structures, features, appearances and biological characteristics. In terms of physical strength more men are stronger than females. Besides the biological make up, we have an emotional side, which includes our attitudes, and feelings. Females are said to be more emotional, and talkative than males.
- Human sexuality is also in our brain and mind and it is what makes us human beings. If you look at animals they also have different physiological features based on sexual differences.
Christian teaching on human sexuality
created for many reasons. These are (1) to be fruitful and to multiply; and (2) for companionship. In
Genesis we learn that men and women share the image of God because God intended man and woman
to play complementary roles and both are equal before God.
Sex in marriage is a sign of love and it is sacred. In marriage man / and woman become one flesh. Both
of them have the ability to control their sexual desires. Christian teaching forbids: sex before marriage,
adultery or unfaithfulness, and other unnatural sexual behaviours like lesbianism, homosexuality or
being gay, and incest. God created human body and it is to be kept holy. Chastity is encouraged while
unfaithfulness in marriage is discouraged. Husbands / wives are to respect one another and give to each
other in mutual love.
Traditional African understanding of human sexuality
- Human sexuality is highly valued in traditional African communities. It is understood in terms of marriage and parenthood.
- Procreation was the sole purpose of sex.
- Sex was to be practiced in marriage and it was regarded as another sacred duty.
- Adultery was discouraged and offenders punished.
- Irresponsible sexual relationships were forbidden.
- Virginity before marriage was highly valued. If a girl lost her virginity before marriage, she was treated with scorn and punishment. If a boy impregnating a girl, he was fined.
- In traditional African society it was a taboo to discuss openly sex matters. Grandparents taught sex education to their grandchildren.
- Sex education was taught during initiation stages. Free mixing of girls and boys was not allowed except under supervision.
- Girls were married off immediately after initiation to avoid temptation of engaging in pre-marital sex.
- To reinforce self — discipline in relationships between the opposite sexes the African traditional society instilled the fear of supernatural curses through myths, taboos and rules.
- Marital status. Husbands and wives were expected to relate to each other, their parents, and in laws according to the community customs.
- Conflicts between a husband and a wife were resolved through intervention of relatives.
- There are specific chores and duties for either male or female in African traditional societies. Roles were therefore according to gender.
- Boys went hunting, herding, while girls fetched firewood, and helped in cooking.
- At an early age, girls and boys would mix freely as they played together. Mature boys and girls however, were restricted from mixing freely without supervision by elders. But there was gender identification. The boys identified with their fathers and other male adults, while girls identified themselves with their mother and other female adults.
- Children belonged to the community and not just to their biological parents.
- At the adolescent stage; 13— 18 years education was given to the adolescents and intensified at initiation stage.
- Boys and girls were taught traditional rules, and secrets of the society during initiation.
- Learning was informal.
- Knowledge was communicated through songs, stories and riddles among other forms of presentations.
- All adults acted as parents to the young ones.
- Men were socialized to be superior, while women were socialized to accept their subordinate position and role.
- Everyone knew and accepted what he/she was culturally supposed to do.
- Division of labor was based on sex. In the African communities, despite their differences, there were many common customary roles, rules, regulations, taboos and beliefs that governed the practices related to male — female relationships from early childhood to old age.
- These traditional African practices relating to male — female relationships existed at various levels.
- In all of them, man held superior positions when compared to those of women. Age. Old women and men were accorded respect. They were consulted for advice and counsel.
- Kinship system was emphasized.
Christian teaching on male- female relationships
- We learn that the husband is the head of the house and should love his wife like Christ loved the church.
- Once a wife is loved, she should submit to her husband.
- We also learn that both male and female are equal and co — creators with God.
- Adam and Eve were created to complement each other. Likewise men and women should love each other. Jesus taught that each man should have one wife and vice versa.
- Once married, the husbands’ body belongs to the wife and hers belong to him. If that is the case, wife and husband should avoid immorality.
- Males and females are to relate freely. But the youth are to avoid the passions of youth. These are sexual sins. There are no specific chores or duties for either male or female.
- Relationship between sexes should be governed by love, chastity, respect, self-control, and self-discipline. Parents are to love their children, while children are to obey and honor their parents. Parents are asked to bring up their children in a Godly way.